After the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of their first round series, Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune wrote about the Blazers leading 3-1 and what’s to come in Game Five.
Portland head coach Terry Stotts talked about how while it feels good to get a win on the road against a team that swept them in the regular season, the Blazers still have to finish the job on Tuesday.
“To get a win on their court feels good,” Stotts said. “We did a lot of good things. I liked the way we kept our composure, made big plays. It wasn’t an easy game. It’s good to be up 3-1, but we have to close them out now.”
Damian Lillard echoed Stotts’ comments on composure.
“We were passionate about the game as well (as the Thunder), but we didn’t engage in it. Our focus was our team.
”We’re not going to go crazy on the referees, get into shouting matches (with the Thunder). We’re going to focus on the things we need to do to win the game. I was proud our team stuck with that.”
The Blazers are in significantly better position than last year when they were swept by the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round. Portland guard CJ McCollum reflected on that after the win against the Thunder.
“It was really embarrassing,” McCollum said after Game 4. “Everybody talked about it. It was on TV every day. They talked about me getting traded. Talked about how (Lillard and McCollum) can’t win together and all of that stuff. We remember it, and we understand that feeling of going home early.”
The Blazers were eliminated so quickly, McCollum had time to fly to Europe and watch his brother, Errick McCollum, play in the EuroLeague playoffs for a Turkish team. Errick is now playing in Russia.
”I told him this year I was not going to be able to make it,” CJ said.
The Blazers will have the opportunity to close out the series at home on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Pacific. The whole Eggers article can be read here.